Kronos Survey: Employees Skip Work to Watch Sports Instead

By Computerworld India Bureau, 22-May-2012

The survey found that 48% of Indian employees admitted to calling in sick to work so they could stay home and watch or attend a sporting event such as the IPL.

Kronos Survey: Employees Skip Work to Watch Sports Instead
Unscheduled absences cost organizations 8.7 percent of payroll each year – that’s a significant dollar figure Joyce Maroneydirector of The Workforce Institute, Kronos

A new global survey commissioned by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and conducted by Harris Interactive reveals that employees around the world have, to varying degrees, called in sick to work over a sporting event.

James Thomas, country manager- India, Kronos, was quoted in the press release as saying, "(This is) A very timely report to see how unplanned absence can be an even bigger challenge during the days of IPL. We are glad to bring attention of corporates to manage absences better in India, and provide practical insights to employee behavior and trends"

Conducted across Australia, Canada, China, France, India, Mexico, the U.K., and the U.S, the "Sidelined by Sports" survey came out with some interesting findings.

At 58%, China had the highest figure for percentage of employees who admitted to calling in sick to work so that they could stay home and watch or attend a sporting event. For India that figure stood at 48% - managers should now be able to make sense of all those absences during the current IPL season.

The figures for the other regions are as follows: U.K. with 24 percent, Mexico with 21 percent, Australia with 19 percent, Canada with 13 percent, and the U.S. with 11 percent. Interestingly, in France only one percent of the employees reported to haven been absent from office to watch a sporting event.

Similarly, a good number of respondents also said that they had called in sick the day after a sporting event because they were up late watching/attending it: 54 percent in China, 41 percent in India, 23 percent in the U.K., 19 percent in Australia, 16 percent in Mexico, nine percent in Canada, seven percent in the U.S., and one percent in France.

Moreover, when it came to calling in sick to play a sport themselves, 49 percent of people in China agreed to doing this, followed by India with 38 percent, Mexico with 18 percent, the U.K. with 16 percent, Australia with 10 percent, Canada with seven percent, the U.S. with five percent, and France with zero.

Whether they stayed home to watch it on television, attended it live, played the sport themselves, or needed a day off after staying up late to watch, sports had a significant impact on attendance at work.

While any sports fan would be happy to see the growing popularity of sports in India, these sports induced absences don’t bode all to well for the companies. To illustrate this point consider what a recent survey conducted by Mercer and sponsored by Kronos found: unscheduled absences – such as when an employee calls in sick at the last minute – cost organizations 8.7 percent of payroll each year.

Whether they stayed home to watch it on television, attended it live, played the sport themselves, or needed a day off after staying up late to watch, sports had a significant impact on attendance at work

As Joyce Maroney, director of The Workforce Institute, Kronos stated in the press release, "Unscheduled absences cost organizations 8.7 percent of payroll each year – that’s a significant dollar figure. This survey indicates that sporting events of all kinds can be a trigger for unscheduled absences. Managers would do well to speak with employees when they know there is a big sporting event coming up to try to determine who is likely to be out. Planned absences cost organizations less because alternatives can be put in place at a less-than-premium price. An automated workforce management solution can enable smarter scheduling and also identify trends and patterns of absenteeism to help organizations be smart about controlling their labor expenses."

Given such an impact on business, respondents were asked what employers could do to prevent employees from calling in sick when they are not actually sick: The most favored solution in every region was to allow for employees to work flexible hours – in India, this response tied for first place with allowing employees to work from home.

Additionally, the Kronos survey also looked at which sports were most likely to keep employees from their jobs in each region and how guilty – or not guilty – people feel about calling into work sick for sport.

Amusingly, a majority of employees across the surveyed regions said they felt "at least somewhat guilty" when asked about how guilty – or not guilty – people felt about calling into work sick for sport. The numbers of people who responded that way stood at 92 percent in France, 90 percent in China, 85 percent in Mexico, 78 percent in India, 74 percent in Australia, 71 percent in the U.S., 64 percent in Canada, and 63 percent in the U.K.

As to which sport was being followed/played the most across these regions, the breakdown is as follows: In Australia, France, Mexico, and the U.K., football took the top spot; in India it was cricket; in the U.S., it was American football; in China, it was basketball; and in Canada, it was hockey.

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